Winners and losers from the All Blacks’ Bledisloe Cup win over the Wallabies at Eden Park.
Forward of the week – Patrick Tuipulotu
Guilty of perhaps not making the most of his opportunities in the black jersey, Tuipulotu was immense against the Wallabies. His overall performance can be summed up in arguably the game’s defining play – when he dragged Kurtley Beale back over the try line to prevent the Wallabies fullback scoring.
Back of the week – George Bridge
Would have won a lot of fans with his performance. Responsible for the opening two All Blacks tries before scoring one of his own late, Bridge popped up all over the park both on attack and defence to make things happen for the team. This was likely his one chance to make a case for a World Cup squad, and he took it.
World Cup watch – Sonny Bill Williams
The question around Williams was always going to be his health, but two weeks with Counties Manukau seems to have done him wonders. He took some heavy shots but never shied away from contact, made some vintage offloads and was a constant presence in the midfield to all but punch his ticket to Japan.
Ups – Beau’unga
A point of much debate in recent weeks, it looked as though the Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga combination finally fell into place. Mo’unga was allowed to control the play in the middle as Barrett fell into a more traditional fullback role – picking his spots rather than trying to make them. It could spell danger going forward.
Downs – Dane Coles
Let down by poor discipline, which was highlighted when he was sinbinned for a throw against Nic White away from the ball that got funnier with every replay, Coles didn’t do himself any favours. He struggled at the lineout too, and was outplayed when replaced by Codie Taylor.
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